Energy efficiency impacts mission readiness

Joshua Smith, engineering technician, Directorate of Public Works, and Robert Ott, energy manager at DPW, check an electrical unit Oct. 5 at the installation’s solar field. Fort Campbell’s energy needs are supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and there is a contractual cap on the amount of electrical energy the post uses, Ott said. The “ceiling,” or limit, for the post’s electrical energy consumption is 66 megawatts – breaching that limit is costly.

Efficient use of energy on the installation is essential to maintaining mission readiness, said Robert Ott, energy manager, Fort Campbell Directorate of Public Works. October is Energy Action Month, an opportunity to learn more about how energy efficiency and conservation affect everyday life at Fort Campbell.

Energy and mission

readiness

Keeping demand on energy at a sustainable level circumvents unnecessary and preventable strain on the power grid that could adversely impact facilities that support Army operations such as training and deployments, Ott said.

These vital facilities, such as the airfields and training simulators, tend to have higher rates of energy consumption and may not be equipped with secondary power sources making them dependent on a strong and dependable power grid to carry out their daily functions.

“We don’t deploy folks very well if we don’t have airfields lit up, and electricity is also important for training,” Ott said.

For instance, flight simulators are in high demand and vital to continued mission readiness of Soldiers.

“So, when the power’s out, that directly impacts training,” Ott said.

Budgetary strain

Fort Campbell’s energy needs are supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and there is a contractual cap on the amount of electrical energy the post can use, Ott said.

The “ceiling,” or limit, for the post’s electrical energy consumption is 66 megawatts – breaching that limit is costly.

“If we break the ceiling, it is very punitive,” Ott said. “It ratchets up our bill for the next 12 months and it’s a fairly significant cost increase – in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We broke our ceiling more than a decade ago and it was an expensive event.”

Typically, peak use of energy occurs during the hottest days in the summer between the hours of 1 and 7 p.m., and the coldest days of winter between 4 and 10 a.m., he said.

Good steward of energy

Fort Campbell residents can take a number of measures to ensure the installation is operating at peak energy performance, Ott said.

“Thermostat control is a big item,” he said. “There is a protocol that the Army expresses that typically in the cooling season they’d like to see you set the comfort level in the workplace space around 72 to 74 degrees and in the heating season to set it around 68 degrees.”

Turning lights off when leaving an office, home or building also are simple steps residents can take to increase energy efficiency.

Mir Khan, energy engineer, DPW, said Fort Campbell residents also can reduce superfluous consumption of energy by taking care of household chores outside of peak hours.

“If everyone on post can run their high electricity consuming equipment like dishwashers and their washing machines, and any other equipment during the off-peak hours, it will help reduce our electric bill quite a bit,” Khan said.

This is because in the contract with TVA, peak hours are charged at a rate of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, or kWh, and off-peak is about 3 cents per kWh, Ott said.

Weather proofing also is another tool residents can use to ensure they are not using more energy than is required to maintain a level of comfort in their homes. Ott said residents should be especially wary of gaps or cracks in windows and doors that might be letting in cold drafts or allowing heat to escape.

If this is the case, Ott said, residents should report the problem to get it repaired.

Campbell Crossing residents can place work order requests by calling 931-431-3966. For maintenance requests for barracks, Soldiers must use the Army Maintenance Application, or ArMA, which is available through the Digital Garrison App. For non-emergency issues, in other government building visit https://home.army.mil/campbell/index.php/work-orders to place a work order.

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